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Are we ready to return to events?

Geoffrey Dixon of Vivid Interface runs through the results of a visitor survey, to find an answer to the question – are we ready to return to events?

 

As we head into a period of phased re-opening in the UK, the events and hospitality sectors are wondering whether people are ready to come back, and if not, what will encourage them?

Vivid Interface, in association with Panelbase.com, conducted an e-survey with over 1,000 previous visitors of a whole range of venues in the hospitality sector, visitor attractions and arts, culture heritage sector between 6th and 7th June 2020. The report looks at two main areas; appetite to return to physical experiences and what information people need to be enticed back. You can view the report here.

As with previous sentiment surveys we’ve seen and undertaken in April and May, it is not surprising to find that the natural environment, gardens and outdoor heritage are the first places people want to visit ‘as soon as I can’. But there are worrying signs for consumer exhibitions, theatres, pubs, clubs, live music venues and festivals in that the research shows that between 25% to 28% felt they’d wait for a vaccine before heading back and on average only 20% say that they will return, ‘as soon as I can’.

The report highlights significant variances in age, gender and life stage which will be particularly important to marketers over the summer. For instance, those aged 55+ are least likely to visit anywhere immediately and more likely to wait and see how things work out or wait until a vaccine is available. In terms of life stage, families (with children under 16) will be more cautious than independent adults to get out and visit attractions straight away.

The survey looked at associated experiences, leisure, shopping and broader entertainment to give a wider understanding of what people are looking to do. Not surprisingly, cafes, pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating get a big thumbs up. Conversely, cinemas and pubs without a beer garden are going to find it hard to bring many people back.

The survey asked visitors to say what information they want on a website to give them confidence to come back. Safety, in terms of social distancing and hygiene, is by far the driver here rather than any price discounting. Specifically, people want to know what the new experience will look like for them, the measures being taken for safety, how numbers are limited and how an attraction will operate their toilets. In other words, leave nothing to chance, explain everything, both on your website and in your marketing to give confidence that this is an experience your guests and visitors will want to have.

The events and hospitality sectors will have to work hard to describe their new experience and safety measures to encourage people back through their doors. Trusted brands will have a head start for sure, but everyone needs to be explicit in their messaging and continue to monitor and reflect consumer sentiment as it bends and shifts through the coming months.